As a gay Black man, I’ve navigated the complexities of identity in a world that often likes its boxes neat and well-defined. But while my experiences are rooted in the intersections of my race and sexuality, there exists a parallel universe of shared truths and unique challenges faced by Women of Color.
Silence. It’s a concept often mistaken for emptiness or lack, but in reality, it’s rich with potential. Recently, I had an encounter that reinforced my belief that sometimes silence can be more revealing than a barrage of questions.
I went on a date, and my companion was brimming with questions. At first, it felt good – like they were genuinely interested in getting to know me. But as the night progressed, the inquiries didn’t cease and I found myself responding in ways that I believed were ‘right’ or ‘expected’.
Instead of portraying my authentic self, I was molding my answers, often subconsciously, to fit into the frame of who I believed my date wanted me to be. This made me question, “Were they getting to know Corey or just the version of Corey they were piecing together through their checklist of queries?”
As the evening wore on, I felt increasingly disconnected. It wasn’t a dialogue– it was an interview. And while I was freely sharing, it wasn’t truly “me” that I was revealing. Instead, it was a tailored version, constructed in real-time based on the cues I was picking up.
There’s an organic beauty in letting a conversation flow naturally. In those quiet moments – those silences – there’s room for spontaneity, for stories to emerge without prompt, for genuine laughter, or shared reflections. These moments, unscheduled and unscripted, often provide the most authentic insights into a person’s character. But in the torrent of questions that evening, such moments were drowned out.
I believe in the power of silence. Not the awkward, stifling kind, but the comfortable pauses that allow people to think, to feel, and to express themselves when they’re ready. This silence grants both individuals the freedom to reveal layers of their personality at their own pace, fostering a connection that is more genuine and deep-rooted.
In hindsight, I wish I had steered that date towards moments of mutual reflection, where both of us could have basked in the comfort of silence and let our true selves emerge organically. However, the experience served as a poignant reminder that getting to know someone isn’t about asking the right questions; it’s about creating the right environment where they can freely be themselves.
As I move forward, I embrace the silent spaces, believing in their potential to cultivate authentic connections. After all, in silence, we often find the most profound truths.